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Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Interpretation of observed fluid potential patterns in a deep sedimentary basin under tectonic compression: Hungarian Great Plain, Pannonian Basin

J. Tóth
Abstract The , 40 000 km2 Hungarian Great Plain portion of the Pannonian Basin consists of a basin fill of 100 m to more than 7000 m thick semi- to unconsolidated marine, deltaic, lacustrine and fluviatile clastic sediments of Neogene age, resting on a strongly tectonized Pre-Neogene basement of horst-and-graben topography of a relief in excess of 5000 m. The basement is built of a great variety of brittle rocks, including flysch, carbonates and metamorphics. The relatively continuous Endr,d Aquitard, with a permeability of less than 1 md (10,15 m2) and a depth varying between 500 and 5000 m, divides the basin's rock framework into upper and lower sequences of highly permeable rock units, whose permeabilities range from a few tens to several thousands of millidarcy. Subsurface fluid potential and flow fields were inferred from 16 192 water level and pore pressure measurements using three methods of representation: pressure,elevation profiles; hydraulic head maps; and hydraulic cross-sections. Pressure,elevation profiles were constructed for eight areas. Typically, they start from the surface with a straight-line segment of a hydrostatic gradient (,st = 9.8067 MPa km,1) and extend to depths of 1400,2500 m. At high surface elevations, the gradient is slightly smaller than hydrostatic, while at low elevations it is slightly greater. At greater depths, both the pressures and their vertical gradients are uniformly superhydrostatic. The transition to the overpressured depths may be gradual, with a gradient of ,dyn = 10,15 MPa km,1 over a vertical distance of 400,1000 m, or abrupt, with a pressure jump of up to 10 MPa km,1 over less than 100 m and a gradient of ,dyn > 20 MPa km,1. According to the hydraulic head maps for 13 100,500 m thick horizontal slices of the rock framework, the fluid potential in the near-surface domains declines with depth beneath positive topographic features, but it increases beneath depressions. The approximate boundary between these hydraulically contrasting regions is the 100 m elevation contour line in the Duna,Tisza interfluve, and the 100,110 m contours in the Nyírség uplands. Below depths of ,,600 m, islets of superhydrostatic heads develop which grow in number, areal extent and height as the depth increases; hydraulic heads may exceed 3000 m locally. A hydraulic head ,escarpment' appears gradually in the elevation range of ,,1000 to ,,2800 m along an arcuate line which tracks a major regional fault zone striking NE,SW: heads drop stepwise by several hundred metres, at places 2000 m, from its north and west sides to the south and east. The escarpment forms a ,fluid potential bank' between a ,fluid potential highland' (500,2500 m) to the north and west, and a ,fluid potential basin' (100,500 m) to the south and east. A ,potential island' rises 1000 m high above this basin further south. According to four vertical hydraulic sections, groundwater flow is controlled by the topography in the upper 200,1700 m of the basin; the driving force is orientated downwards beneath the highlands and upwards beneath the lowlands. However, it is directed uniformly upwards at greater depths. The transition between the two regimes may be gradual or abrupt, as indicated by wide or dense spacing of the hydraulic head contours, respectively. Pressure ,plumes' or ,ridges' may protrude to shallow depths along faults originating in the basement. The basement horsts appear to be overpressured relative to the intervening grabens. The principal thesis of this paper is that the two main driving forces of fluid flow in the basin are gravitation, due to elevation differences of the topographic relief, and tectonic compression. The flow field is unconfined in the gravitational regime, whereas it is confined in the compressional regime. The nature and geometry of the fluid potential field between the two regimes are controlled by the sedimentary and structural features of the rock units in that domain, characterized by highly permeable and localized sedimentary windows, conductive faults and fracture zones. The transition between the two potential fields can be gradual or abrupt in the vertical, and island-like or ridge-like in plan view. The depth of the boundary zone can vary between 400 and 2000 m. Recharge to the gravitational regime is inferred to occur from infiltrating precipitation water, whereas that to the confined regime is from pore volume reduction due to the basement's tectonic compression. [source]

Geomorphic constraints on the active tectonics of southern Taiwan

Lucy A. Ramsey
SUMMARY Taiwan is a region of rapid active tectonics, yet the study of the tectonic processes that shape the interior of the island is difficult due to the high rates of erosion and dense vegetation. We use digital topography to look for indications of active deformation preserved in the local geomorphology. In particular, anomalies in the regional pattern of drainage are used to infer zones of enhanced tectonic activity. The apparent anticlockwise rotation of major river systems in plan view indicates the presence of a diffuse zone of left-lateral shear running down the southeastern side of Taiwan. Asymmetries in the catchments of individual drainage basins show the influence of varying rates of uplift across southern Taiwan, with the most rapid uplift close to Taitung at the indentation point of the Luzon arc with the Chinese continental margin. Our interpretations, though based predominantly on remote-sensing observations, are consistent with the available field evidence. This study demonstrates the usefulness of drainage basins as tectonic markers in the quantification of regional strain and uplift, which may have wider applicability in other deforming parts of the world. [source]


D. Franke
A total of 11,700 km of multichannel seismic reflection data were acquired during three recent reconnaissance surveys of the wide, shallow shelves of the Laptev and western East Siberian Seas in the Siberian Arctic Ocean. Three seismic marker horizons were defined and mapped in both shelf areas. Their nature and age were predicted on the basis of regional tectonic and palaeoenvironmental events and corroborated using onshore geology. To the north of the Laptev Sea, the Gakkel Ridge, an active mid-ocean ridge which separates the North American and Eurasian Plates, abruptly meets the steep slope of the continental shelf which is curvilinear in plan view. Extension has affected the Laptev Shelf since at least the Early Tertiary and has resulted in the formation of three major, generally north-south trending rift basins: the Ust'Lena Rift, the Anisin Basin and the New Siberian Basin. The Ust'Lena Rift has a minimum east-west width of 300km at latitude 75°N and a Cenozoic infill up to 6 s (twt) in thickness. Further to the NW of the Laptev Shelf, the downthrown and faulted basement is overlain by a sub-parallel layered sedimentary succession with a thickness of 4 s (twt) that thins towards the west. Although this area was affected by extension as shown by the presence of numerous faults, it is not clear whether this depression on the NW Laptev Shelf is continuous with the Ust'Lena Rift. The Anisin Basin is located in the northern part of the Laptev Shelf and has a Cenozoic sedimentary fill up to 5 s (twt) thick. The deepest part of the basin trends north-south. To the west is a secondary, NW-SE trending depression which is slightly shallower than the main depocentre. The overall structure of the basin is a half-graben with the major bounding fault in the east. The New Siberian Basin is up to 70 km wide and has a minimum NW-SE extent of 300 km. The sedimentary fill is up to 4.5 s (twt) thick. Structurally, the basin is a half-graben with the bounding fault in the east. Our data indicate that the rift basins on the Laptev Shelf are not continuous with those on the East Siberian Shelf. The latter shelf can best be described as an epicontinental platform which has undergone continuous subsidence since the Late Cretaceous. The greatest subsidence occurred in the NE, as manifested by a major depocentre filled with inferred (?)Late Cretaceous to Tertiary sediments up to 5 s (twt) thick. [source]

Predatory boreholes in Tournaisian (Lower Carboniferous) spiriferid brachiopods

LETHAIA, Issue 3 2009
A brachiopod fauna from the uppermost part of the Tournaisian Tournai Formation (Belgium) contains an undetermined species of Crurithyris (Spiriferida, Ambocoeliidae), which displays numerous bored shells. About 8% of the 432 specimens with conjoined valves display single, small (, 1 mm) boreholes, which are smooth-sided, cylindrical or weakly conical, circular to slightly elliptical in plan view, perpendicular to the shell surface and generally complete. Of the 35 bored articulated specimens, 27 were drilled on the ventral valve. Most of the boreholes are located in the posterior half of the shell, and no case of edge-drilling has been observed. The boreholes were drilled by a predator, or possibly a parasite, which selected individuals greater than 2.5 mm long. Crurithyris sp. may have represented an attractive (in terms of energy cost) and easy target for a small-sized predator because of its thin shell and ornament of minute spines. [source]

Modern and ancient fluvial megafans in the foreland basin system of the central Andes, southern Bolivia: implications for drainage network evolution in fold-thrust belts

BASIN RESEARCH, Issue 1 2001
B. K. Horton
ABSTRACT Fluvial megafans chronicle the evolution of large mountainous drainage networks, providing a record of erosional denudation in adjacent mountain belts. An actualistic investigation of the development of fluvial megafans is presented here by comparing active fluvial megafans in the proximal foreland basin of the central Andes to Tertiary foreland-basin deposits exposed in the interior of the mountain belt. Modern fluvial megafans of the Chaco Plain of southern Bolivia are large (5800,22 600 km2), fan-shaped masses of dominantly sand and mud deposited by major transverse rivers (Rio Grande, Rio Parapeti, and Rio Pilcomayo) emanating from the central Andes. The rivers exit the mountain belt and debouch onto the low-relief Chaco Plain at fixed points along the mountain front. On each fluvial megafan, the presently active channel is straight in plan view and dominated by deposition of mid-channel and bank-attached sand bars. Overbank areas are characterized by crevasse-splay and paludal deposition with minor soil development. However, overbank areas also contain numerous relicts of recently abandoned divergent channels, suggesting a long-term distributary drainage pattern and frequent channel avulsions. The position of the primary channel on each megafan is highly unstable over short time scales. Fluvial megafans of the Chaco Plain provide a modern analogue for a coarsening-upward, > 2-km-thick succession of Tertiary strata exposed along the Camargo syncline in the Eastern Cordillera of the central Andean fold-thrust belt, about 200 km west of the modern megafans. Lithofacies of the mid-Tertiary Camargo Formation include: (1) large channel and small channel deposits interpreted, respectively, as the main river stem on the proximal megafan and distributary channels on the distal megafan; and (2) crevasse-splay, paludal and palaeosol deposits attributed to sedimentation in overbank areas. A reversal in palaeocurrents in the lowermost Camargo succession and an overall upward coarsening and thickening trend are best explained by progradation of a fluvial megafan during eastward advance of the fold-thrust belt. In addition, the present-day drainage network in this area of the Eastern Cordillera is focused into a single outlet point that coincides with the location of the coarsest and thickest strata of the Camargo succession. Thus, the modern drainage network may be inherited from an ancestral mid-Tertiary drainage network. Persistence and expansion of Andean drainage networks provides the basis for a geometric model of the evolution of drainage networks in advancing fold-thrust belts and the origin and development of fluvial megafans. The model suggests that fluvial megafans may only develop once a drainage network has reached a particular size, roughly 104 km2, a value based on a review of active fluvial megafans that would be affected by the tectonic, climatic and geomorphologic processes operating in a given mountain belt. Furthermore, once a drainage network has achieved this critical size, the river may have sufficient stream power to prove relatively insensitive to possible geometric changes imparted by growing frontal structures in the fold-thrust belt. [source]